Advertising Technology

Bill Wise and MediaOcean to Build the Operating System for Advertising

Yesterday the Department of Justice formally approved the merger of Donovan Data Systems and MediaBank to form MediaOcean, a company that plans to build the operating system for advertising. We spoke to MediaOcean’s CEO Bill Wise about the merger, what is means for current customers and where the company is headed next.

The Makegood: Donovan Data Systems and MediaBank have been the major players in the media and advertising space. What are the benefits that current clients will see as a result of the merger? Will all current products continue to be supported?

All current products for both DDS and MediaBank will continue to be supported. Clients and our partners can expect the same level high level of service as they are used to enjoying.

One of the big positives of the approval process with the government is that we were able to spend a lot of time with the senior most people at all of our clients. Our clients responded very positively to the opportunity for increased innovation, the ability to offer global systems and our potential to create the Mediaocean OS. Ultimately, our clients know that the future of the media agency is very much tied to their ability to leverage data and technology on behalf of their advertisers—and they see Mediaocean as a critical partner with them in that journey. We will strive to prove worth of that trust.

The Makegood: At the IAB Leadership Conference this year, you said “It’s easier to execute a 7 figure TV buy than a $10K digital test.” How does MediaOcean intend to address this situation?

I also said that we “need less science and more work flow.” Through the Mediaocean OS, we will enable every technology partner the ability to plug directly in to the buyers workflow – completely configurable by the agency’s client team.

Somewhere between 5-15 technologies are involved in deploying a digital media buy (typical example: ad server, rich media ad server, web analytics tool, verification service, planning data/tool, financial system, mobile ad server, video ad server, data platform, dsp(s)….). Today, hardly any of those systems talk to each other. That has to change.

Part of the reason traditional media is so efficient is that there were (and still are) massive economic benefits to the client for standardization. A core value prop is the ability to leverage scale to buy media at the lower price. Going forward, scale will matter—but so will the ability to leverage data and technology on behalf of an advertisers. That means agencies can’t standardize tech and data stacks across all clients. Mediaocean must power that differentiation, while stripping out the underlying transaction costs.

The Makegood: The battle for talent is fierce. What does MediaOcean need to do to become a “hot tech” company?

Big, exciting problems attract great people. I have been in advertising for a long time and can’t remember being more excited about an opportunity. Folks also look to work with great teams – I think we’ve got an incredible foundation there as well.

We also have to create a culture that fosters innovation and success.  That’s one of my top goals.

The Makegood: The combined companies DDS and MediaBank have a significant footprint in North America and to a lesser extent in Europe. What is your strategy to expanding to other parts of the world?

Global advertisers are demanding global solutions from their agencies. We need to empower our customers to deliver on that goal as efficiently and effectively as possible.

Digital media workflow is remarkably similar no matter what country you’re in around the world. Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of peculiarities in each country – but we’re building systems with that customization and configuration in mind.

Through the Mediaocean OS, we will also offer agencies the ability to integrate their local media systems to their global network or build their own local systems.

Make no mistake about it, global expansion is a critical part of our future.

The Makegood: Bill, you said that you want to MediaOcean to be the “app store” or of advertising. What can potential partners look forward to in terms of API and support?

We’re currently working on a developer center as a part of More fundamentally, the same API’s and web services that Mediaocean will be using to build applications for agencies will be the same ones open to everyone else. We’re all about eating our own dog food.

The Makegood: Thanks, Bill.